Posted by: atowhee | September 25, 2011


The calendar says fall started last week n the 21st.  But the weather says it began this morning.  We had our first rain of the season today.  Lots of leaden clouds, a bit of water from the sky.  Here on seasonally arid Pacific Slope the start of the rainy season is the real seasonal change.  The days have been getting shorter, of course, since June 21st.  But now the air, the snap of the morning cold, will be dfferent than any day in August.  The sun is losing its dominance now.

The smell today was of wet pavement.  Also of wet oak and incense cedar and granite.  A wet granite boulder has its own faint perfume.  The tannic tang of a wet oak leaf on the ground is another marker of place and season here.  In the Ozarks where I was a kid the rain the smell of wet dust in the warm months, wet limestone gravel, a more acrid smell than granite or oak.  There were wet oaks and cedars there as well. In the Ecuadoran  Andes the heavy rains raise the scent of ripe compost, of green turning to soil, of clay before it becomes brick.

In American places where the soil is rich: Indiana, Missouri bottomland, eastern Oregon the rain can sometimes fall on alfalfa.  That is my favorite rain smell: a rich sweet clovery aroma.  It must be a smell familiar to pamperd livestock and foraging ground squirrels far and wide.  A heady smell that promises nutrition, protein, vitamins and a happy nose.


  1. Drove thru the fields to Phoenix late afternoon Saturday. Clouds were gathering, temperature dropping, the smells of fall, alfalfa, pears, and coming rain were refreshing. Wishing to again have a convertible rather than a pick up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: